This area was once one of the most industrial in the country, now it is a treasured part of St Helens, covered in trees and wildlife. What changed?
First of all, what is peat? It is dead compacted moss land. An industry was created in which turf cutters dug trenches to remove the peat which was then built into an array of thousands of pyramids spanning between 3 and 12 feet tall.
In 1955 the NCB, the National Coal Board, completed a £5.5 million investment into Bold Colliery.
The mine that was nearby was one of the most modern pits in all of Lancashire, with 1800 workers.
Sadly, there is such a thing called spoil with mining and this was more often than not just dirt mixed with rock and shale. It was taken by railway and offloaded onto Bold Moss. 23 years worth of this stuff equates to around 9 million tons. It caused massive environmental damage.
Things started to change in 1978. The artificial hill that was made up of the mine’s sludge and the power station’s ash, reached a maximum height and the dumping stopped.
The Colliery stopped production in ’85 and 5 years after, British Coal agreed to the sell the site in order to restore it.
What had happened to the grounds as a result?
Well, during the 90’s, lots of work was undertaken to help ease the affects of the environmental damage that all those years of dumping had had on the land. Unfortunately, the soil was then very acidic which made it very hard for the plants to regrow.
Machines were used to loosen the soil, and then after lime & fertiliser had been introduced, grass heather and wildflower seeds were planted along with trees.
What is it like now?
The site is now a haven for wildlife and plants. Colonies of Orchids have spread on the common and new species of wildlife is arriving every year.
This is just one example of what is capable if spaces that were once abused, are looked after and restored to what they once were.
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